Roos break series tie
Georgina Morgan, Emily Smith and Grace Stewart helped the Hockeyroos to break the series deadlock 3-2 with Great Britain in the final match of the series at the Perth Hockey Stadium Sunday afternoon.
Despite Great Britain’s late second half goals by Sophie Bray and Joie Leigh, the Hockeyroos finished the series off strongly, with Georgina Morgan, Emily Smith and Grace Stewart helping Australia to earn a second match victory.
Pleased with Australia’s performance, Head Coach Adam Commens said, “I’m really pleased with today’s result. I thought we were fantastic up until late in the fourth quarter, when we had a number of our players off.
“I think we can learn from this series, tidy up aspects of our game and if we can successfully do that we will have a complete performance.
“The level of intensity that we have been able to show in each of the games has been a standout. We have been able to use all of our players in the squad, play a good style of hockey and create ourselves plenty of opportunities.
“It’s also been positive that we have been able to score field goals throughout the series.”
Youngster Grace Stewart was named in the final line-up with some of Australia’s most experienced players. Speaking about her inclusion, Commens added, “Grace is going really well. She’s a fantastic athlete, a good young player and a bit of a goal sneak. I think she has put herself in the running for Olympic selection.”
It was a tight final clash between world number three the Hockeyroos and world number six Great Britain. Dominating a majority of the ball possession in the first half, Australia were awarded their second penalty corner of the match five minutes after the starting whistle. Standing tall at the top of Australia’s battery, Georgina Morgan sent a powerful on-target drag flick into the back of the net, earning Australia an early 1-0 lead.
Intensity levels were high during the second quarter, with attacking opportunities being created at both ends of the pitch.
Teamwork eventually paid dividends for Australia at the 26th minute mark. Working the ball through Great Britain’s defence and to the top of the circle, forward Emily Smith’s deflection hit target, pushing Australia’s lead out to 2-0.
New South Wales’ youngster Grace Stewart impressed Australian supporters five minutes after the halftime break. Making contact with the ball directly in front of Great Britain’s goalkeeper Maddie Hinch, Stewart used her skill to successfully slot the ball behind the keeper and into the back of the net, allowing Australia much needed breathing space with the score at 3-0.
With four minutes remaining on the clock, a late back stick tomahawk from Great Britain’s Sophie Bray handed the visitors hope. Hunting the ball, Australian goalkeeper Ashlee Wells went one-on-one with Bray, however, she ultimately couldn’t deny Bray’s powerful strike.
Quickly following one minute later, Great Britain managed to work the ball onto an Australian foot. Picking up the rebound off the back of a penalty corner, Joie Leigh coolly slotted the ball behind Wells and into the goals. After reducing the deficit late in the match, Great Britain were unable to catch Australia, who concluded the series with a 3-2 victory.
The Hockeyroos will have the chance to meet Great Britain again in the women’s Champions Trophy tournament in June in London, which will also feature Argentina, the Netherlands, New Zealand and the United States of America. The pair have also been drawn together for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.
News Source: Hockey Australia
Match Details – Game Six:
HOCKEYROOS – 3 (2)
Georgina Morgan 5 (PC), Emily Smith 26 (FG), Grace Stewart 35 (FG)
GREAT BRITAIN – 2 (0)
Sophie Bray 56 (FG), Joie Leigh 57 (PC)